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The First stage of the Canadian Olympic Curling Trials have begun (surprisingly not on television). The tournament is triple elimination with 4 spots up for grabs to go to the final tournament (which will be in traditional championship format).

Bob Ursel 11 - 7 Ted Appelman

Kerry Burtnyk 8 - 3 Jason Gunnlaughson

Joel jordison 4 - 6 Greg McAulay

Jean-Michel Menard 4 - 7 Pat Simmons

For event A the next matches will be

Bob Ursel vs Jeff Stoughton

Kerry Burtnyk vs Mike McEwen

Grey McAulay vs Brad Gushue (The defending Olympic champion)

Pat Simmons vs Wayne Middaugh

In Event B

Ted Appelman vs Jason Gunnlaugson

Joel Jordison vs Jean-Michel Menard

The system is complicated.

On the women's side

Cathy King 9 - 6 Krista McCarville

Heather Rankin 5 - 8 Sherry Anderson

Rach Homan 8 - 6 Eve Bellisle

Crystal Webster 11 - 9 Amber Holland

The quarter-finals for event A

Cathy King vs Kelly Scott

Sherry anderson vs Michelle Englot

Rachel Homan vs Marie-France Larouche

Crystal Webster vs Sherry Middaugh

Event B

Krista McCarville vs Heather Rankin

Eve Belisle vs Amber Holland

The reason the tournament to get the Olympic spot is so tough is so that a fluke team can't get in as happened 4 of 6 times. Men in 1998, Women in 2002, Both Men and Women in 2006 were not our best teams, but the depth is so great in this country that it didn't matter with 2 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze in 3 tournaments.

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Sorry - being dumb but can you clarify? So do you select individuals and then put them together or do you select a team together?

Those names aren't individuals, those are the team skips/captains. It's practically unheard of for a curling team to be drafted position-by-position for a specific competition unless it's from a country with not a lot of competitive curling and the team is basically one single training camp with no opposing coaches or clubs. Teams from the competitive nations like Canada, Britain, the US, Sweden, etc. are created at a club level amongst curlers who share the same local curling club, or they compete together in specific World Curling Federation-related regional, national, and international competitions while playing for other teams non-competitively, like cashpiels (prize money tournaments) or bonspiels (just for fun events, often concurrent with celebrations).

Each one of those names represents the captain and their entire team, and since the trials are based on top performers instead of the champion from each province (like the annual Canadian nationals) it's kind of pointless to use provincial team names due to several repeats from the bigger provinces.

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For the Olympics, Britain does select individuals to form a squad and creates a team from these players. There are many mixed views in Scotland just now about whether this squad based drive for Olympic success is spoiling competitive curling. I think forming your own team and having playdowns, as in most countries, is the fairest way to select the team for the Olympics.

It just so happens that the GB Murdoch rink selected for Torino have largely stayed together, with good international success (as Kevin Martin knows :)), and have been selected again for Vancouver. It's a pity they don't seem to be playing so well this season (yet).

The GB Womens team has been brought together from different rinks resulting in a reduced entry for the Scottish Championships this year. They seem to have gelled quickly though and have had good results so far this season. I still don't like the squad system though!

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From the evening draws

Bob Ursel 1 - 7 Jeff Stoughton

Kerry Burtnyk 2 - 8 Mke McEwen

Greg McAulay 5 - 8 Brad Gushue

Pat Simmons 9 - 6 Wayne Middaugh

Catyh King 7 - 8 Kelly Scott

Sherry Anderson 8 - 7 Michelle Englot

Rachel Homan 7 - 4 Marie-France Larouche

Crystal Webster 7 - 5 Sherry Middaugh

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For those interested, I've been tracking the tournament bracket on Google Docs: Link Here

The key matchups today I would say are:

- Both Men's A Semi-Finals go tonight - Stoughton v. McEwen and Gushue v. Simmons

- Men's B4 Game this afternoon - McAulay v. Middaugh. Both these teams are good enough to get through, but after today, one will be down to their last chance and needing to win 3 straight.

- Women's Semi Final - Homan v. Webster....both these teams pulled off upsets in the quarterfinals. One of them is going onto the final tomorrow....

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